Dictate messages and texts to your iPhone or iPad can be a very useful feature when communicating, among other functions of the iOS keyboard. Over the past few weeks I’ve been overusing this feature of the iPhone, discovering several tricks and features that aren’t so obvious at first. Let’s see them in detail.
How to activate and use dictation on your iPhone
Dictation is a very useful function of iOS, similar to Siri but different. You can dictate texts and messages at any point where the official iOS keyboard appears. But to do this you need to check that you have the function enabled. You can do this by following these steps:
- On your iPhone, go to Settings , General , Keyboard and activate dictation.
- If you have several languages on your keyboard, you can choose which ones to have active in the dictation.
If you didn’t have it activated, from now on you will see a microphone icon whenever the iOS keyboard is deployed. Depending on your iPhone model, this icon will either be on the left side of the Space bar or in the lower right corner on a Face ID iPhone.
To use dictation, you have to hit the button and wait for a ding to start talking (it’s immediate). Instead of the keys, an animation will appear that will move according to our voice. If you are in Messages or another messaging app, you will see your message appear in the text “box” as you dictate it.
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This means that you don’t have to wait to finish your dictation to see how your message is constructed. To stop dictating , you can hit the send message button or the keyboard button if you want to touch up the text.
In this time of a little more regular use of dictation on the iPhone in my daily life, I have learned several tricks and functions that are not in sight. They are as follows:
- Think about your messages before you send them. Sometimes at first I hit the dictate button but it went blank and I had to start over.
- It is much more useful for responding to messages of a handful of words or medium size. For an “ok” or “no” response it is best to use the keyboard.
- Keep your iPhone close and pronounce clearly. In my case, I’ve found that accuracy is pretty good even when you leave your phone on the table.
- If the dictation function has doubts about what you have said, it will highlight that part of the message with a blue dotted line. If you touch it, some alternative suggestions to what you have written will appear.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that you can add punctuation and other functions simply by saying them during the message:
- Saying “period” will add a period and then start a new sentence.
- Saying “comma” will add a comma.
- Saying “exclamation point question mark” will add the “! ?” that closes a sentence.
- Saying “exclamation mark initial question mark” will add the “¿” that starts a sentence.
- Saying “new line” serves to start dictating on a new line.
- Saying “new paragraph” will add two new lines.
The truth is that sometimes it’s much easier to start dictating a message or writing a note through dictation because it’s quite fast. If you have an Apple Watch, dictation works in much the same way when replying to an iMessage message. The more you use dictation on your iPhone, the more convenient it becomes.